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Life Saving Stuff
on 10 November 2003
Some bands legacy will always be greater after they break up, and BRMC, White Stripes et al are strong evidence of the fact that the Jesus and Mary Chain, like the VU before them, will be more revered after the fact than they were in their day.
In turn, they were also a band who wore there own influences happily on their sleeve, and here (from T-Rex and Dylan on "Blues from a Gun" to VU on "Here comes Alice") again those influences were reconstructed as something completely new. How many other bands made so many great covers (check out Barbed Wire Kisses to see what I mean), and who else took a bass line or hook and made them so completely their own? At least with the Reids they took to make something greater again, unlike those who now ape them.
Rumoured to be after a mental breakdown, in Automatic it's clear that by '89 the tours of North America and their experiences were deeply shaping the brothers and their music, from the Americana of "Coast to Coast" to the skewed TV evangelism of "Take It". This is rage and fury being vomited out in the screams and feedback more of Psychocandy than Darklands, and even the acoustic moments are uttlery twisted. However, the noise is more controlled and directed, adding to the sonic rather than distracting from it, and giving a far greater intensity.
In 1989 only Doolittle by the Pixies and The Stone Roses, two more bands heavily influenced by the JAMC, could hold a light to it, and it was a top 3 album of the year in almost all of the polls that mattered. If you've just been dumped and need a rage inducement as a soundtrack - this is your baby - it was for me. If you haven't, you should buy it to remember "screaming automatic pain".